He keeps turning up, and he keeps losing


Dumb and Dumber (or perhaps the other way around): Joe Beninati and Jose Cabrerra pose in front of one of their failed projects on Langhorne Lane, Greenwich*

Greenwich’s own, Jos. Beninati, skulked off to NYC after his development company Antares blew up, and now his latest real estate coup is in trouble.

Joseph Beninati’s Bauhouse Group is seeking an $80 million mezzanine loan to fund his troubled residential skyscraper project at 3 Sutton Place, according to investor documents reviewed by The Real Deal.

The upcoming tower at 426-432 East 58th Street, which is facing fierce resistance from area residents, is now slated to be 68 stories tall — down from 80 stories in August. The total project size is slated to be 286,000 square feet, with condos slated to be priced between $5 million and $6 million. That’s according to a letter sent to potential lenders by the Carlton Group, which is trying to arrange financing for Bauhouse.

Sources said that Beninati has approached developers such as Michael Stern of JDS Development Group to partner up with him on the project. A source familiar with JDS said that though Stern had a preliminary discussion about the project, talks did not progress past that point. Reached for comment Friday, a JDS spokesperson said the firm was “definitively not involved” with the project.

Bauhouse assembled the site and the necessary air rights for about $70 million, city records show. According to the letter, the project’s total pre-development costs will be $231 million, which includes a $71 million first mortgage, the $80 million mezzanine loan, and $80 million of equity. Total construction costs are slated to be $526 million, which includes $120 million in EB-5 funds.

Bauhouse has struggled to secure financing for the tower. In August, he told the New York Times that he had been searching for a joint-venture partner for months, and if one “doesn’t show up, I’ll have no choice but to sell.” Adding to his woes are area residents, who have formed an alliance against the project and accused Beninati of misleading them about the project’s size.

The Real Deal reported Thursday that local lenders are becoming far more wary of financing high-end condo projects, given what they see as a double-whammy of oversupply and a slowdown in luxury sales.

Greenwich being the town that it is, there are probably a few other people here as arrogant, deceitful and just plain dumb as Beninati, but he’s in select company.

Nick Paumgarten’s article, “A Greenwich of the  Mind”, 2008, remains the most definitive picture of this time in our town, and the Cabrerra/Beninati duo that so desperately wanted to dominate it.



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16 responses to “He keeps turning up, and he keeps losing

  1. anonymous

    He’s such a nice guy.

    “It appears the developer got the residents to sell the air rights by misleading them into believing the building would be no more than 30 stories,” said Arthur Schwartz, a spokesman for a number of the building residents. “Before the ink was even dry, the developer turned around and announced plans for a $1 billion, 90-story mega-tower, one of the largest condos in the country.

    Who wouldn’t Google him to see the trail of failures and say bye bye?

  2. My rant

    I agree that “A Greenwich of the Mind ” article was a definitive summary of the time. I’m curious what your interpretation is of the article’s title. Care to share?

  3. anonymous

    He really knows how to time the market! NYC residential is toast.

  4. housecat

    Whaddaya ‘spect from a guy who can’t spell Bauhaus correct?

  5. d’oh! i thought they were talking about Blake Carrington

  6. Anonymous

    Have to love this quote:

    “Before Lake Carrington came on the market, in April, 2007, Beninati told the New York Sun, “There’s always a market for van Goghs, and there’s always a market for backcountry mansions in Greenwich. Markets are pretty much irrelevant here. It just depends which group of guys in the world are on top. So it might be the Russian oil barons, the hedge fund guys, or the private equity guys today. In the next few years it might be the venture capitalists, the tech guys, and the Japanese guys. It is just a rotation of who has the millions and millions.”

  7. former og lifer

    Beniati’s wife is a lawyer & her maiden name is Madoff. You can’t make this shit up!

  8. Anonymous

    Rookies who think they can play in big leagues. Nope.

    • Speaking of rookies- After the collapse of Antares here, someone funding him for another try in the even more cutthroat, competitive world of NYC real estate was the equivalent of another NFL team signing Johnny Manzel